Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blue Mason Jar Cake

I was asked to make a cake for a very fancy crafting party.  Their theme was centered around old style ball mason jars which actually come in a lovely light blue color, and their logo featured the phrase 'Queen of the Ball'-- as in ball mason jar.  The party was very elegant, and many details were given to me to include on this cake.

The good news is, it was right up my alley.
 'Can I have flowers?'
'Oh and I love fondant bows.'
'Me too!' :)

So I sketched up my idea for the blue mason jar cake with its lid tilting off and flowers exploding out of it. The client also wanted their prize ribbons and logo to be featured on the cake, so I drew those in the middle of a big bow.  She also wanted a crown (you know, the 'queen' part of the theme) to be part of the design, which is how I decided to top the lid with a sugar crown.

Note that my little brain busily works on how exactly I'm going to execute these crazy cakes and looks for potential problems for quite some time before construction begins.  Like cakes wake me up in the night.  I should probably see someone about that.  Anyway...

I started the detail work well in advance.  I started with the extra large gum paste peony.

And hydrangea...

I dusted the bottoms of the ivory hyrangea with pink petal dust and the tops with just a touch of white sparkle.  I also made about 10 peony leaves and many hydrangea buds, as well as 2 smaller peonies and two peony buds.

Then I started on the prize ribbons, which I also made from gum paste.

Sorry for the glare from the flash.  The whole center is only about 2", so you can only imagine the fun I had painting that logo.  I probably should have ordered an edible image, but I only needed one and I don't have an edible ink printer... So I painted away!  Painstakingly small!  It does actually say 'Queen of the  ball' on the jar.  The teal gum paste surrounding the logo was painted with confectioners' glaze to make it shiny like a button, and I used bronze luster dust on the spiky circle... for lack of a technical term.

I also made the sugar crown from isomalt a few days prior to delivery:

This meant I got to use my awesome new blow torch!!! :)

While I made the crown, I also made some isomalt gems that I used to finish the board.

I didn't really take too many process pics once I got going.  I made the mason jar from 6" round butter cake layers and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.  Notice the grooves on the lid?  I did those using fondant underlays... ;)

The jar and lid took 6 different layers, with a little cut away around the top of the jar to shape it correctly.  I covered the jar in light blue fondant and the lid in gray.  I airbrushed a little around the top and the bottom of the jar and airbrushed the lid with silver sheen.

I sprayed the jar with confectioners' glaze to give it a little sheen, then added the SugarVeil lace around the top before stacking on the floral separator and the lid.  I was pleased as punch with the SugarVeil lace... just makes a perfect a effect, I think! :)

Note that the jar is doweled throughout with tier separators and after everything was stacked I hammered in one final center dowel to hold everything in place.  Can't have our lids sliding off in transit.

I made the bow with teal gum paste and lace from the SugarVeil Circle Bouquets mat-- I just cut off the side designs and layered that over the gum paste.  I was thrilled with the effect.

I'm always nervous when I finally go to bed at 2 AM that the cake might spontaneously combust.  So I got out of bed and took a picture of it in the fridge... LOL :)

I left some foam and paper towels in place to let everything set up overnight and left the foam in place for transit as well.

Delivered cake set up on the dessert table.  Can't complain that it didn't fit the theme, lol! :)

Some close ups of the gum paste flowers:

I was really impressed with their setup... look at this dessert table:

I think the ladies who were there when I set up were pretty excited about the cake too-- I know I was.  :)

Happy Sunday, my fabulous readers!  :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Butterfly Wedding Cake

On Saturday I delivered my first official wedding cake!

This cake featured over 40 gum paste butterflies in about 15 different colors, all hand dusted and painted with unique detailing.  The cake itself is a lemon butter cake with lemon swiss meringue buttercream, chambord flavor splash, and raspberry puree.

The bride picked out this cute little bunny topper, which is actually a ring holder (the rings go on the ears). Notice I wired up a little butterfly between his ears?  Yeah, thought I'd integrate the theme... :)

I started the butterflies well in advance and made a few of them on wires so they could 'fly' away from the cake.

I tried to plan for the right number of butterflies before the cake was made.

The bride did not want a smooth cake-- she wanted buttercream icing with some texture or sloppiness to it.    I used a paddling technique over the whole cake to give it the texture that you see.

The cakes were 10" round (~8.25" tall) and 6" round (~5" tall).  I delivered the cake like it was pictured above only I had already attached the ribbons to the cake board.  I carefully packed up all the butterflies and put them on when I got there; they were fragile enough that if they fell down in transit they were likely to break.

Fortunately, everything went pretty smoothly!  I set up the cake on what was to be the dessert bar-- it was surrounded by little pies and pastries on the platters.  I really like the rustic look of the whole setup.

I hope the bride and groom (and guests!) loved it. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kickin' it Old School

This weekend I went to a dinner party and did a tasting for a wedding cake.  God forbid any of my cakes should be under-dressed (they might take after me a little), I decided it was a good opportunity to practice some old school overpiping.

This cake is a lemon butter cake with a framboise flavor splash, a fresh raspberry puree, and a light lemon swiss meringue buttercream.  With some minor adjustments, I'll be using these flavors for a wedding cake in a couple of weeks.

All the piping was done in the swiss meringue buttercream as well using PME tips 2,3 (round) and 6 (star).  The top border was done with 6 as a base, followed by 3, followed by 2. I have this set of 20 PME supatubes-- they are seamless and I love them for detailed piping: PME 20 Piece Icing Tube Boxed Set.  The cake was a big hit at the dinner party!

I also made a smaller version as a tasting cake:

I'm just fascinated by old school piping.  I'm dying to take a Lambeth class with Kathleen Lange-- maybe next summer! :)

More cakes in the works...